Nimble and punchy... lovely
Back in 2009, Suzuki discontinued the SV650 in favour of the new Gladius – a perfectly reasonable bike, which was easy to ride and stole much from its SV sibling, but in most senses it was a failed model. So Suzuki reversed their thinking, discontinued the Gladius, and reintroduced the SV for 2016. And after a few days on it I’m pleased to report they have definitely resurrected the old SV’S spirit; it’s fun, sporty and, at £5699, very tempting.
So, the suspension isn’t adjustable, but it’s an attractive bike. Our test bike is also fitted with a Yoshimura Alpha exhaust (£499) and an attractive Suzuki Tuck Roll seat (£149) which bump up the price to £6347. We’d argue if you removed the Suzuki logo you could be fooled into thinking it was Italian.
With the introduction of the new SV, Suzuki added 4bhp, moved the torque further up the rev range, and reduced the mass by 8kg. It’s actually the only bike here under 200kg, and a whopping 23kg lighter than the Honda. It also has the most power. I love the SV’S nimbleness and punchy engine. It’s so much fun, even in the cold and wet. Our test bike also wears Metzeler Sportec M7 tyres (OE fitment are Dunlop Qualifiers) that find grip in all conditions. Every journey raises a smile, whether darting between traffic, or towards an apex. On the twisties you can have lots of fun with the peace of mind you’re not doubling the national speed limit and have ABS as back-up.
In this company there are obvious drawbacks. In winter you’ll want to avoid long motorway stints due to the lack of wind protection. The 13.8-litre tank means the fuel light comes on around the 130-mile mark to ease the pain, but that’s 50-60 miles sooner than the others here. To add to the discomfort the pegs feel high and the bars narrow – this is a physically small bike. All the fun is unleashed above 6000rpm, too, making it revvy. But the SV is easy to ride, and trundles toward the horizon from virtually tickover. If you want to make the best use of the excellent chassis you need to get busy with the throttle and beautifully smooth gearbox.
'I love the SV650'S nimbleness and punchy engine Ð itõs so much fun'
Pegs are high, so six-footers might feel a little cramped On these types of roads the SV650 is in its element